I can’t remember where I read it — because I wasn’t near my computer and couldn’t bookmark it — but I definitely read somewhere that Chavez was targeting teachers, etc., and that they were part of the political block trying to oust him (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) in the most recent election. That got me thinking about one of history’s great ironies.
Historically, revolutions, although powered by the masses, germinate with the intelligentsia. Thus, while there may be discontent among the masses, it’s the intellectuals, both the famous and the plodding, who historically have handed to these seething masses the idea to revolt. It’s questionable whether, without the ideas class, there could be functional revolutions, or if you’d just have random uprisings, such as the Peasants’ Revolt in 14th Century England, or the Luddite revolts in North England in the 19th Century. These uprisings shook things up a bit, but since they were aimed solely to correct specific grievances, they didn’t — and weren’t intended to — change the system.
However, in so many (maybe all — I don’t know) ideology driven revolutions, the revolutions that are meant to change the world, the first ones to go are these same intellectuals who started it all. France beheaded them, Russia purged them, Pol Pot slaughtered them wholesale, and it now seems as if Chavez is working to destroy them too. These anti-intellectual rampages make sense, of course. These intellectuals are the idea people and, if they see that their idea isn’t working in fact as well as it did in theory, they may come up with new ideas aimed at ousting the revolution.
Despite this historical truism and the cold logic driving it — use the intellectuals to shape the revolution, then destroy them before they wise up — the modern thinking class is still trying hard to start new and better revolutions. They’re still looking for victims to build up so that these victims can provide the muscles to tear down the society in which we live. These “thinkers,” though, seem incapable of recognizing the inevitable end result of their efforts, which is that any future revolutions will eat them too. Someone in San Francisco (of all places) gets it, however. To see what I mean, read the following from Jay Nordlinger.
Last, I can’t help sharing with you a photo, sent to me by a reader. I don’t say it’s fair. I do say it’s funny (and that it has a point). The photo shows a man — an extraordinarily brave one, by the evidence — dressed in a keffiyeh. He’s in San Francisco. And he’s going around with a sign that says, “Thank you, S.F. liberals! You die last.”
Here you go.